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Literacy Degree Programs and Schools

Literacy is sometimes offered as a specialization through master's degree programs in education. Find out about courses that may be included in a literacy specialization, and read information about becoming a teacher who focuses on literacy.

What You Need to Know

Upon the completion of a literacy degree program, you may work as a teacher in the public school system. These degree programs are offered in both traditional and online learning. Additional requirements are typically involved, such as the completion of a licensing exam.

Courses Study Skills, Reading Theory, Literacy Assessments, Reading and Writing for Success
Degrees Master of Education in Literacy, Master of Arts in Literacy Education, Master of Education with a Concentration in Literacy Studies: TESOL and Reading, Master of Education in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum with a concentration in Literacy Education, Master of Education in Language and Literacy
Colleges New York University, Clemson University, University of Missouri, Lesley University

Sources: New York University, Lesley University, University of Missouri

What is Literacy?

Literacy is the practice of reading and writing, so those who earn a degree in literacy typically enter the education field. Teaching reading and writing is primarily geared towards two groups: children and English as a second language (ESL) students. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require literacy teachers to have bachelor's degrees or higher, but some states specifically require master's degrees.

What Type of Literacy Degree Can I Earn?

Most American colleges offer literacy as a master's degree. To teach at an elementary level, you can earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a certificate in literacy or remedial reading. If you're already a certified teacher, you can earn a literacy specialization or credential. These programs require you to take a certain number of credits. Once you earn the credential, you'll be certified to teach students reading and writing skills. A Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education may be available, in addition to a Master of Arts in Literacy Education or a Master of Education with a concentration in Literacy Studies: TESOL and Reading Program. Courses in a degree program are listed as follows:

  • Content literacy instruction: K-6
  • Adolescent readers and writers: 7-12
  • Children's literature
  • Reading and writing analysis
  • Teaching multilingual literacies

Can I Study Online?

Some schools and universities offer online bachelor's and master's degrees in education and literacy. Graduate programs are typically designed for teachers who've already earned bachelor's degrees in education. You can study literacy in general, which is geared towards students from K-12, or you can choose a program that focuses on adult education. Adult education classes will concentrate more on ESL techniques. As with on-site programs, online programs require a term paper or project to be completed before graduating with a degree.

Are There Any Additional Requirements?

As with any teaching job, you're required to be licensed by the state. Some schools may assist you in seeking licensure, but others, especially the online programs, don't offer licensure. You must be sure to look into your state's requirements regarding teaching licenses and follow the steps before beginning to teach. These schools offer literacy degree programs:

  • Lesley University (Cambridge, MA)
  • Arcadia University (Glenside, PA)
  • New York University (NY)
  • University of Missouri (Columbia)
  • Clemson University (SC)